Fixies & Single Speeds

Jensen Single Speed
Chappelli Vintage Single Speed – Jensen

Fixie or Single Speed?

A fixed gear bicycle (or fixed wheel), more commonly known as a fixie is a bicycle where the rear cog is fixed to the wheel so the wheel cannot rotate independently of the cog. Thus if the wheel is moving so are the pedals. This means that when riding a fixie you are always pedalling – there is no coasting or free-wheeling. Fixed gear bicycles are nearly always single speeds because they need a tight chain so can’t work with deraileur gears and slack chains.

A single speed bicycle only has one gear but it can be either fixie or free-wheel which allows you to coast. All Chappelli single-speed bicycles have a flip/flop hub which allows you to choose if you want to ride with the rear wheel fixed or free. They come set-up as free to start but it is easy to ‘flip’ the wheel and make it into a fixie.

Fixies & Single Speeds – Background

The very first bicycles were all fixed gear bicycles and the first professional bicycle races were all done on fixed gear bikes. Although the roads were terrible – necessitating the riders to carry many spare tubes, at least there were no traffic lights and only minimal traffic.

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Riders lining up for a race with their spare tubes around their chests

Today track bicycles used in velodrome racing and the Olympics are still fixed gear bikes. There are many famous fixed gear bicycle races such as the Keiren bike races in Japan and the underground courier bike dashes in New York, London and Melbourne (if you can find them).


Brunswick Velodrom in 1972
Riders in a 12 hour track race at the Brunswick Velodrome in 1972

Fixed gear bicycles or ‘fixies’ had a resurgence after they became cool amongst the bicycle couriers in New York in the 80’s, who valued their simple no fuss mechanics, reliability and control. From there the trend went global and took off creating huge ‘fixie’ scenes in London, Berlin, Toyko and now Australia. For the past few years fixies have been the urban bicycle of choice amongst inner city hipsters and people seeking a second bicycle to ride around their local area. Many people find riding fixed too hard, as the pedals must constantly be in motion when the bike is moving. Whilst this allows great control for those who have mastered riding fixed gear, for many its hard to learn and requires much dedication and practice. For this reason single speeds have become very popular, they don’t require the pedals to be in constant motion, but do have many of the same benefits of a fixie, in that they are easy to maintain and very simple to ride. All Chappelli single speed / fixie bicycles come with a flip/flop hub meaning that you can choose how you want to ride your bicycle either as single speed or for those more adventurous as fixed.

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Image of New York Bike Couriers on their fixies. Copyrighted image from SNTRL

Fixies in 2016

In 2016, fixies have become common on the streets around Australia. Melbourne has become the unofficial home of the fixie in Australia with its flat terrain and dense inner city suburbs perfect for single speeds. However there are many other domains that you can find fixed gear bicycles. Many road cyclists have them as a second bicycle for training. Fixed gear bikes are excellent for building fitness and stamina as you have to constantly be in motion and without gears to rely on its only the power of your legs that determines how fast you go. Fixed Gear bicycles are also used by a lot of urban cyclists for tricks. Using larger frame BMX style fixies riders can perform all sorts of tricks including wheelies, riding backwards and even riding on the front wheel!

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Fixie rider at an Iconic Melbourne Sculpture. Photo by Brendan Timmons. Copyright All rights reserved.

Bike Polo or Hardcourt Bike Polo is another area where you will see a lot of fixed gear bikes, as their responsiveness and handling makes them ideal. Bicycle Polo started in Seattle in the early 2000’s and has become a worldwide sport. However its not a sport for the faint-hearted with 10 riders riding a full pelt around waving mallets, crashes and spills are inevitable.

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Bike Polo Riders in Sydney. Copyright All rights reserved by Stephanie Simcox

Why buy a fixie or single speed from Chappelli Cycles? Because life is too short to ride rubbish bikes…

At Chappelli Cycles we pride ourselves on having the best quality fixies and single speed bikes available in Australia. In 2012 we won an Australian Design Award for our designs, with judges commenting on the quality of our components and our distinctive design: fat rims, raked forks and eye catching colour combinations. Sure you can buy a cheap bicycle – but they won’t be great quality. Fixies only have a few critical parts – so its important not to trade price for quality. Make sure that your bike comes with good quality brakes, a sealed bottom bracket, quality cranks and strong pedals.

Our fixies and single speeds all come with a flip/flop hub, a light-weight CrMo frame, specialised Lasco fixie crank, quality Tektro brakes and levers, Tange Seiki headset, sealed bottom brackets, quality Wellgo crome-alloy pedals and genuine leather grips as standard!

Our 10 year warranty and unique 30 day free return policy

All Chappelli Cycles come with our 10 year frame warranty, 1 year warranty on parts and our unique 30 day no questions free return policy.